Beating Multiple Sclerosis Before It Beats You

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Multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease to be diagnosed with at a young age. You don’t know when it will take its full toll on you, if ever. I was diagnosed almost 6 years ago at the age of 22. Up until now, not a lot of people knew I even had the disease. I have relapsing remitting, so I rarely show signs of the condition, and when I do have symptoms I try to keep them to myself and hide them the best that I can. It isn’t that I’m insecure of having the condition; it’s that I don’t want anyone to have pity on me or treat me any different than before.

Similar to myself, I have seen people that are newly diagnosed with a condition that go about dealing with it in so many different ways. Some people get angry, sad, depressed, live in denial, or occasionally use it for something positive. They use it as a motivation to fight against something they can now relate to first hand.

I for one was literally heartbroken. My initial reaction to my diagnosis was, “Well, now what am I supposed to do? I love to run, bike, kayak, camp, climb, play sports, and not to mention I’m half way through obtaining a master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology.” The entire plan for my life involved MOVING; not becoming disabled!

After I went through the initial shock and pain, I got over it pretty fast. I thought to myself, “Hey! Wait a minute! I can still move! No one knew I had this condition before it had a name! Why should I change my lifestyle now?”

So, I changed my attitude immediately. I started fundraising annually for the MS Society through rides and races, & I’ve participated in all of them. I am now inspired to push my body to its limits while I still can. Immediately folIowing my diagnosis in 2008, I participated in my 1st 5K race, 1st sprint triathlon, and I completed 175 miles for my 1st MS bike ride. Since then, I graduated with my master’s degree, participated & placed in more 5Ks than I can even count, completed & placed in the Baton Rouge half marathon, & completed 2 full marathons (both under 4 hours). 

The year 2014, I want to make epic in my physical & fundraising endeavor. As part of becoming a relay runner for MS Run the US I have pledged to raise at least $10,000 & I will run 5 consecutive marathons in 5 days. I know the road ahead will be challenging, but the drive inside to make a difference & imagining a world without MS is worth every bit of effort, sweat, & tears.

As the MS Society says, “Move to create a world free of MS.” I will continue to move to prove that MS has not beaten me yet. It may overcome me someday, but that someday is not here yet & just because of a diagnosis I won’t let it overtake me now. I’m going to continue to move & fight in this battle not only for myself, but for those that MS has already consumed.

Receiving a Diagnosis

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Receiving a diagnosis that you have a permanent, debilitating disease is devastating. No matter what the diagnosis, you have to endure the words, “You have _______.” Those words are probably the hardest 3 words you may ever be faced with in your life or have already had the dreadful experience of being faced with. For me, I heard the words, “You have MS.” They were the hardest 3 words I ever had to endure.

It’s never good news to receive a permanent diagnosis, and how a person deals with it usually varies among each individual. I believe that everyone that has received such a diagnosis remembers everything about it down to the last detail. At times, it might be “blurry” because you may have tried to forget or block it out of your memory especially if your initial reaction was denial, but no matter what you can recall that day, that time, those terrible words.

My neurologist appointment was at 10am on April 29, 2008 to receive all of my test results. I took the entire day off of work and school.  My mother traveled three hours to accompany me to the appointment. I was trembling as we walked into the clinic. My mom held my hand in the waiting room as we patiently waited for my name to be called.

When I heard my name, I slowly rose from my chair and we followed the nurse back to the same room I was in just a few weeks prior. The neurologist walked in & I was expecting him to say something, some sort of news that would help in calming my fears. Instead, he said he didn’t have all of my results yet. He never received my spinal tap results, so he picked up his phone to call the lab. As he read my results & the “normal range” I already knew before he even hung up the phone I was going to hear the dreaded 3 words. Although, I didn’t realize how awful I would feel until I actually heard him say them.

When we were excused out of the office to give it time to “soak-in” my mom held me in that hospital hallway as I cried every tear I had in me to shed.

If you ever hear or have already heard the words “You have _______,” just know that you are not alone. It may feel like it at the time, but you are not.

Introducing my MS Run the US Journey

Introducing my MS Run the US Journey

The MS Run the US – 2014 Relay is a 3,000-mile relay run across America to help raise awareness and funds to help CURE multiple sclerosis (MS)! The Relay begins April 13th, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA and is completed August 17th, 2014 in New York, NY.

I am one of 16 runners that have been selected to individually run on average 170 miles over 6 consecutive days during our assigned segments.  Each runner dedicates a week of running on the road with the Relay, while collectively the event spans a distance and duration of 3,000-miles run in 4 months in an effort to raise $500,000 to help cure multiple sclerosis. 

Attached is the link to my personal story, details of my segment, & my fundraising page.

Please help fight & support the reason I run…..ridding the world of multiple sclerosis.